COVID-19 Response: Changing lives through literacy

Liz WertzCOVID-19 Response

COVID-19 Community Response: Changing Lives Through Literacy

United Way of the Ozarks is committed to supporting our partner nonprofits, including Ozarks Literacy Council.

Ozarks Literacy Council seeks to “unlock the life-changing power of literacy for every willing learner.” It provides programs, including free one-on-one tutoring, to promote literacy in Southwest Missouri.

During the pandemic Ozarks Literacy Council transitioned services to online platforms. United Way of the Ozarks allocated $2,023 from the Coronavirus Response Fund to assist with costs associated with transition of services.

Ozarks Literacy Council member using an online subscription.

Ozarks Literacy Council made the transition to online platforms in order to continue providing crucial literacy services to those in our community.

Addressing student barriers

As a result of schools moving to virtual learning, some students faced barriers to remote education. Ozarks Literacy Council identified 20 students without access to a computer.

Funding from United Way enabled the purchase of tablets and online program licenses. Ozarks Literacy Council loaned the devices to students, continuing their opportunity to engage and develop literacy skills. 

“Literacy is important at the community level because it affects all of us,” says Amy Jardell, executive director of Ozarks Literacy Council. “It affects our poverty rate, unemployment rate and violence in our community. Unfortunately, folks who are low literature, oftentimes are in jobs that are underpaid. That, in turn, leads to higher stress levels and it ripples into other aspects of our community. Approximately 30% of the adults in the United States are low literate, which we consider a third-grade reading level or less.”

Jardell shares more about the importance of developing fundamental reading skills at a young age in the United Way of the Ozarks video Reading for Success.

Promoting the love of reading

Ozarks Literacy Council promotes literacy development and a love for reading – not just for children – but for everyone. Even when facing a global health crisis, Ozarks Literacy Council persevered to meet the needs present in our community. 

Join the fight to Live United! 

Stay tuned to our blog as we publish a “good news” story each week detailing the ways our community has risen to the pandemic’s challenge to LIVE UNITED.

United Way of the Ozarks is committed to supporting our nonprofit community throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.